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December 14, 1940 - Image 3

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1940-12-14

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'PERSPECTIVES

Pae ?"hree

.,PsERi v P F CT iIV i./a geVTre

BIG BUSINESS SITS DOWN
.By Martin B. Dworkis

6n September 16. 1940, for the first Also, if at the end of eight years, the
time in American history, the youth of company wanted to it could continue its
this country were rendered liable to mil- lease and program for another eight
itary conscription in peace time. The years. If it did not, the government con-
American people showed themselves tracted to buy the plant, in which case
willing to make an unprecedented effort the government would be paying for it
to gear our defense program ready for twice. Nevertheless, when last heard
any exigencies that may arise. Congress, from, the Wright company was a hold-
the Adbinistration and the press have out, sitting down for five year amortiza-
. been calling our attention to the fact tion.
that our national safety is. jeopardized, What do -these incidents illustrate?
that sacrifice and struggle are required They show that Big Business is willing
for defense. to cooperate only at a price. The terms
Yet, since and even prior to the pass- of the monopoly interests as dictated to
age of the Conscription Bill,'the defense
*'prograzh has lacked any drive whatso-
ever. No foreign agents or fifth column-
ists can be found in the hay stack of our
hampered and strained and sabotaged
defense drive. 400,000 young men are to
be snatched from jobs, careers, schools
and homes for military service at a nom-
inal pay of $30.00 a month. But Big
Business haggles and bickers over the
profits 'that can be made out of the
. necessities of the international and na- It is so hard to be nonchalan
tional situation. When buildings are falling a
It is this "sit down" and the appease-
ment policy of the national government It is so hard to look cool and
that gives one cause to wonder if the To refrain from doing the
provision of the Conscription Act pro-
viding for the conscription of reluctant (A Morris Dance or the Hig
wealth and industries is not a bit of When the bomber's bomb ha
political.hand-out to the American pub-
lic to make the snatch of our young
men acceptable. In August, the sit down So settle down to a gouty wa
of Big Business first came to the at- And polish your monocle as
tention of the public. Since then revela-
tion has followed revelation in 'the nia- Cherry pie, cherry pie,
tidnal government, in the 'press and Even a cherry's afraid t
throughout the country.
The evidence is piling 'up.. Secretary
Stinason in August, before a Senate But their prima-donna
hearing in Washington, adniitted that Yet tell me not in mournful
of the 4200 planes for which 'fnds had Of club-chairs or after-dinn
been appropriated by Congress, 33 had
been contracted foir. Before the Senate Oh! I say! That was a close s
Affairs Committee, an employee of the Those Nazi airmen have som
National Defense Commission testified,
that it was the opinion of the Conuns- Come, Thomas old thing, we'
sion that until arms production was re- And cable a gram to Lady A
leased from restriction on profits there "The British lass is fonder of
would be little or no produce forthcom-
ing. Further, tax and amortisation laws Than combing ruins in wide
would have to meet with the approval And it might well have a gr
of the manufacturers. ' Corroboration Than a moonlight raid or a
came in the form of a statement by the
President of United States Steel, "Irving We'll muddle through, don't
S. Olds, to 'the effect that his company The worst of this raid has on
would delay the purchasing of needed
armor plate machinery 'until "proper" And should you die, the wo
legislation of taxation was secured. Sin- The masses shall feel they ha'
ilarily from the Newport News Ship- They'll bury you, smelling o
bilding. Company, :as. represented by
J. B..Woodward, cime the testimony be- And draped in red, in the Ha
fore a Congressional Committee that the Yes, yes, I know, God's plagu
iornet, newest 'aircraft carrier, would And the heirs of this earth are
have, to be launched without necessary A
side-belt armor because manufacturers But, it might have been a goo
would'not 'make the plate until the gov- If Hitler had turned from ha
eminent guaranteed them profits and'
paid the expenses of installing new ma-
chinery.
Take this. quotation from the Wall
Street Journal of 'August in reporting on
the aviation program. "Although con-
tracts for some -4,000 planes have been
drawn and are awaiting signature, it
is understood that' the industry has de- the American people indicate that there
clined 'to accept the business until def- are to be no risks and fat profits. Pierre
mite rgeulations are forthcoming on DuPont best summarized the situation
amortizing new plants." The story of the way back in 1917 when he said, "We can-
'aviation industry's "wants" indicate a not assent to allowing our patriotism to
shacking reversal in pointing up the interfere with our duties as trustees."
spearhead of our national defense pro- The price that the government is to
gram. T6 illustrate,"the Curtis-Wright pay in order to secure cooperation from
company, worth eighteen million dol- Big Business is tremendous. The gov-
lars some months back, received a loan ernMent is to loan the money to build
from the national government of over the plants and provide for new equip-
ninety millions. In addition, the gov- ment, charge off as amortization part
mrnmen ptomised to Pay zeniough for the of 'the 'tax 'on profits, pay a price 'that
motors produced toenable the company will enable the co mpanies to- completely
to repay the Loan in eight years. As a wipe out the debt at the end of five
result;'the nrtis'Wright )people, would years, and promise to buy back the
" l, eight years A'hew plant,-fully' plants if- the industry can no longer'
- itipped;'eompletely'paid-for- and worth' "use" them; at the'ndustry's option; of.
'much more 't2n what they'have now, course.

i

Profits rule. The American people are
faced with a situation where their na-
tional security and freedom are chal-
lenged from within by a strike of our
huge national monopolies and indus-
tries. The Aluminum Company of Amer-
ica, with an all-powerful grip on alum-
inum and other metals vital for air-
craft, has created a bottleneck in alum-
inum production. Interesting, too, is the
fact that the company in cooperation
with a German firm has a patent used
by the Nazis for the production of an
alloy. The control of power and raw

o1 in M/ia ,air
t
11 around you,
collected,
unexpected
ghland Fling)
as almost found you;
et, old thing,
ilk
you talk:
o die...
gave this rendition,
was hors de condition)
numbers;
er slumbers;
queak!
ne cheek!
'1 travel faster
.stor:
f tweeds
ow's weeds"-
eater effect
hit direct;
be downhearted,
y started!
rld shall know it,
ve lost a poet;
f spikenard
arvard yard;
led us with thugs
e "jitterbugs,"
d deal worse
ate to verse!
-Lawrence P. Spingarn

machinery and plants should be com-
pensated for and allowances made where
such plants will not be profitable after
the emergency is over. But this does not
mean that they should be permitted
unlimited profits or escape from their
fair share of taxation. In producing for
national defense, manufacturers should
be willing to assume reasonable risks
and be content with reasonable profits.
Most of America's business enterprises
have been content to do this. Defense in-
dustries are on the increase, undoubted-
ly, and almost all are working for rea-
sonable returns. The problem is are we
to allow some few key industries con-
trolled by monopolies or cliques of bus-
iness men to undermine the defense
drive?
The slogan of "patriotism before prof-
its" must be nation-wide. Drastic. mea-
sures are needed in drastic times and
the Conscription Act empowers the gov-
ernmnent to employ powerful weapons.
Emergency calls for action. As Bruce
Bliven stated, "The enemy against
whom we are preparing doesn't have to
worry about 'business as usual.' In his
country, anybody who tried to obstruct
the national defense program for the
sake of profits or for any other reason
would be taken out and shot."
National defense does not call for
shooting anybody in this country, of
course. But then, if we can agree tha ,
the times call for action, that our de-
fenses must be built up, what then?
Some say let us give monopoly its head,
everything wanted, and then after the
emergency has passed, we can tax away
their huge profits. But experience shows
that such would not be the case. Rather
we would be increasing an already too-
powerful control over our economic sys-
tem, the political consequences of which
might well prove disastrous. Even if
we gave them a blank check the likeli-
hood of their coming up to defense re-
quirements is slim.
In order to appease monopolies th
American public would have to accept
greater decrease-in its standard of liv-
ing. For instance, the Michigan Depart-
ment of Labor and Industries reported
that living costs in industrial cities were
over 2 per cent higher in September,
1940, than in September, 1939. At the
same time, the Bethlehem Steel Cor-
poration announced a triple increase
over last year's dividends, profits for
the January to September, 1940 period
being $34,160,749 as compared to $11,-
609,456 in the same period last year.-
That part of the consumer's dollar
that reaches the farmer has dropped
from 41 cents to 39 cents as shown by
a report of the Department of Agricul-
ture, comparing 1939 and 1940 figures.
At the-same time, there has been a gen-
eral rise in farm prices all along, the line.
It would seem that the nationagovern-
ment would be anxious to avert a con-
tinuing disproportion between wages and
prices but such apparently is not the
case.
In two major instances at least, the
government has backtracked to mono-
poly interests. In the first case, the
American Petroleum -Institute, consist-
ing of twenty-odd companies and sub-
sidiaries, control the production, Olistri-
bution and marketing of oil and petro-
leum. Through various juggling me-
thods, .the companies are able to "pro-
duce" losses on the marketing end, re-
couping on the high profits from dis-
tribution and production. Consequently,
they have been able to drive- out inde-
pendent and cooperative retailers and
marketers. As a result of thesepratioes,
the AntiTrust Division of the Depart-
ment of Justice brought suits against
the companies.
When# the' suits were filed, huwevcr,
the complaints were mild and the irm
(Contined o n'ge Eight)

materials exercised by the monopoly is
no small reason why Stettinius, of the
National Defense Commission, advo-
cates a decided increase in aluminum,
production by the Tennessee Valley Au- .
thority to break the monopoly bottle-
neck.
Monopolistic controls lead us into
other fields. Bausch and Lomb, produc-
ing more than half the optical instru-
ments used for military purposes,
threatened to stop bomb sight produc-
tion unless a conbairacy suit against.
them was called off. Thegovernment.re-
fused to stand for that 'and the com--
pan 'was convicted and penalized.:
A fair profit should be assured to
busnestes that cooperate fully ;in the
defense progra= , The burden of new

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